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Staying Power

BY By Carita Rizzo | October 27, 2016 | Feature Features National

Maura Tierney's career reaches new heights with her critically acclaimed role in The Affair.
Maura Tierney will reprise her role as Helen in season three of "The Affair," which premieres Nov. 20 on Showtime.

For those who have followed her career for the past two decades, it’s certainly hard to pick a favorite Maura Tierney character. Maybe you loved her comedic timing in her breakout role as overachieving reporter-turned-producer-turned-news director Lisa Miller on the NBC sitcom NewsRadio. Or perhaps you rooted for Dr. Abby Lockhart on E.R. in the part that launched her into fame and earned the actress her first Emmy nomination. But it’s her turn as scorned wife Helen Solloway on The Affair that really has critics and fans alike taking notice.

The role is unique in that Tierney gets to portray three—sometimes more—versions of the same person, as the story is told from the point of view of each main character on the show. As we get to see more of Helen from her character’s point of view, even Tierney’s interest is piqued. “I think what we found was a more insecure person that was struggling with raising four children. Struggling with her husband’s antagonistic relations with her parents. Struggling with a lot of things. And also, she realizes she’s culpable in that divorce,” says the actress. “She is much less perfect, and therefore, I think more interesting.”

When we return to The Affair for its riveting third season, it deals less with the dissolution of a marriage and more with the aftermath of a crime where every character bears guilt. “Helen is desperate to get Noah’s (Dominic West) love back, or gets this concept in her mind that if she could just get him back, everything will be okay,” explains Tierney. “It’s about her journey of figuring out that getting back the man who left her is not going to make her whole again.”

Tierney’s work on the show garnered the actress a Golden Globe this past January and her second Emmy nomination this September—an accolade that has made her take a look at how far she’s ventured since her first nod. “There’s so much that’s special about this particular job, but it’s superspecial that people are watching my work and enjoying it,” she says. “It means a lot to me.”

Tierney’s HOTS
Venice Beach, Jeffrey Toobin’s American Heiress, the swimming pool at Pali High

Tierney’s NOTS
The New York subway, this month’s election, bossy people

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